Football team earns academic accolades

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— The Colorado High School Activities Association recently named the Steamboat Springs football team the Class 3A Academic Team Champions in the sport of football for the fall season.

The Sailors had a cumulative GPA of 3.18 for the fall semester. The 27 students who received a majority of varsity minutes counted toward Steamboat's cumulative GPA.

Sailors coach Aaron Finch, who received his master's degree in business administration from Stanford, was quick to praise the players for their work in the classroom.

"Academics are very important to me," he said. "I can't take any credit for this, but I'm very proud of them. Academics are important in our high school. We have a group of kids that aren't just athletes. They are being leaders in the classroom. Us setting this example is excellent."

Steamboat Springs High School has been rated "excellent," the highest honor the Colorado Department of Education hands out, in annual school accountability reports for two straight years.

Although most of Steamboat's prep teams consistently fare well academically, the football team was the only team state champion this fall.

"It's kind of exciting," Finch said. "It is one of our priorities. We are the only sport that has study tables for kids struggling on their grades. Anything lower than a C, and they are required to go to study table."

Finch said he hopes the team members are as proud of their accomplishments as he is. He said the team understands the importance of education, considering that football will end, for many, after high school or college.

With Steamboat winning the Class 3A academic team title and fellow Western Slope League member Rifle winning the Class 3A state championship in November, the league swept CHSAA's top football team awards.

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